Time to turn clocks back, test alarms

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 5, 2022

Simple steps to stay safe from home fires

As daylight saving time ends on November 6, the American Red Cross encourages everyone to test their smoke alarms as they turn their clocks back to help stay safe from home fires.

“Home fires claim more lives in a typical year than all natural disasters combined but working smoke alarms can cut the risk of dying in a home fire by half,” said Erica Mani, Chief Executive Officer, American Red Cross Central Appalachia Region. “The sooner an alarm alerts you to a fire, the sooner you can get out. When you turn your clocks back this weekend, also test your smoke alarms to help prevent a tragedy in your home.”

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Home fires account for most of the more than 60,000 disasters that the Red Cross responds to annually across the country. Locally, the Red Cross assisted nearly 1,040 families who experienced a disaster last year with 88 percent of those home fires. Home fire responses are 45 percent higher during cold months than warmer times of year. The Red Cross has helped to make more than one million homes safer by installing free smoke alarms.  In the Central Appalachia Region, Red Cross volunteers and partners installed more than 47,000 alarms and helped make nearly 18,500 households safer.


• When turning your clocks back this weekend, test your smoke alarms and replace the batteries if needed. Visit redcross.org/fire for more information, including an escape plan to create and practice with your family, or download the free Red Cross Emergency app by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.

• Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including inside and outside bedrooms and sleeping areas.

• Replace smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Components such as sensors can become less sensitive over time. Follow your alarm’s manufacturer instructions.

• Practice your two-minute home fire escape plan. Make sure everyone in your household can get out in less than two minutes — the amount of time you may have to escape a burning home before it’s too late.

• Include at least two ways to get out of every room and select a meeting spot at a safe distance away from your home, such as your neighbor’s home or landmark like a specific tree in your front yard, where everyone can meet.


If you cannot afford to purchase smoke alarms or are physically unable to install one, the Red Cross may be able to help. Contact your local Red Cross for help.


Since October 2014, the Red Cross Home Fire Campaign with community partners has saved at least 1,393 lives – including 90 in the Central Appalachia Region — by educating families about fire safety, helping them create escape plans and installing free smoke alarms in high-risk areas across the country.

Visit redcross.org/homefires for more information.